If you look at the sidelines this Sunday, history should overwhelm you. For different reasons, Jon Gruden and Hue Jackson sit at intriguing points in Raiders history. While some want to celebrate one and chastise the other, understand that they both need criticism for various reasons. Yet, here are two coaches, one winless for almost two years, and the other, almost a month. However, the buzz surrounding one trends slightly positive. In contrast, the attention for the others appears glaringly negative.
Hunger for Power
For Hue Jackson, opportunity presented itself at the most bleak of moment. When Al Davis passed away in 2011, a power vacuum emerged. Who was there to Hoover maneuver? Hue. As a result, the Raiders, for a season, became his dominion. When the Raiders lost starter Jason Campbell, Hue sent a first and second round pick to the Bengals for the retired Carson Palmer. After an epic collapse, the Raiders finished 8-8.
When Jon Gruden returned to Oakland, the eyes of some fans shut to facts. Granted, did win a title in Tampa, those players were not his. In addition, he displayed a lust for power that placed him at the top of an organization. Both Gruden and Jackson left unceremoniously. Yet, the thirst for power remains. Gruden essentially controls the Raiders. Before John Dorsey arrived, Hue Jackson lorded over the Browns, full stop.
Offensive Minded, Flawed Overall
To the credit, Gruden and Jackson share a devout belief in their particular offensive system. Whereas, some flexibility exists, these two hold offense near and dear. If you listen to them speak, offense is the sole fact in winning. As a result, each appears to possess little use for defense. Although, the Browns did draft Myles Garrett and value collecting pass rushers.
If you are honest, and look at the specifics, Jon Gruden and Hue Jackson remain masters at their craft of landing prime jobs, after initial success. After losing his job in Oakland, Jackson parlayed that into an OC job with the Bengals. Then, the Browns came knocking. In his three seasons in Cleveland, Jackson earned a 2-32-1 record, so far. In 2016, the Browns fell to 1-15. The next year, they did not win a game. On his third campaign, Jackson sits at 1-1-1. After such titanic failure, how does he survive?
On the other hand, after a lackluster finish in Tampa and a decade off, Jon Gruden boasts a ten-year, 100 million dollar contract. Initially, the team cannot finish games and Gruden remade the team in his own image to poor results. If you don’t respect the means, appreciate the hustle. They both found two owners that fell for the proverbial banana in the tailpipe.
With their last win, Hue Jackson’s team energized their fanbase. With another brutal loss, Gruden’s team demoralized his. Whether Jackson stays or goes, the Browns possess a young core of decent players that could piece together a great franchise. Conversely, Gruden will run the franchise for the next decade. Yet, they share a bond. Chances remain that each of them are coaching for the last franchise they will ever lead.